Is Your Family’s Past Haunting You? How to Handle a Relative’s Criminal History on Your Background Report

Relative's Criminal History on Your Background Check

Background checks have become a part of our daily lives. They are conducted when we apply for jobs, rent apartments, or start new relationships. These background reports are meant to protect our safety and security, but what if a relative’s criminal history affects your background report? This can be a challenging and emotionally draining situation. Let’s explore some steps you can take to tackle this problem and navigate the process of having a relative’s criminal history on your background report.

How a Relative’s Criminal History Can End Up on Your Background Check

First and foremost, knowing how a relative’s criminal history can end up on your background report is essential. When background check companies run these reports, they often rely on public records, such as court documents, police reports, and other legal documents and databases. These reports typically include information about individuals with the same name or similar identifying information. Suppose you share a name or other identifying details with a relative. In that case, there’s a chance that their criminal history could be mistakenly associated with yours.

The Emotional Toll of an Inaccurate Background Report

Discovering that a relative’s criminal history affects your background report can be emotionally distressing. You might feel embarrassed, anxious, or unfairly judged. It’s crucial to acknowledge these feelings and remember that the actions of your relatives do not define you.

Steps to Remove a Relative’s Criminal History from Your Background Report

  1. Obtain a Copy of the Report: The first step is to obtain a copy of your background report. You have the legal right to request a copy of your background report from the background check company that provided it. Review it thoroughly to identify any errors, including criminal history information related to a relative.
  2. Contact the Background Check Company: Once you identify inaccuracies, immediately contact the consumer reporting agency. They are legally obligated to investigate and correct any errors in your report. Provide them with clear documentation to prove that the criminal history does not belong to you but that it belongs to a relative.
  3. Gather Legal Documentation: Legal documentation that proves your relationship to the relative in question and clarifies that the criminal history pertains to them, not you can strengthen your proof. These documents may include birth certificates, marriage certificates, or other relevant records.
  4. Dispute the Inaccuracies: File a dispute with the reporting agency/background check company, providing all the evidence you have gathered. Be patient, as the investigation process can take some time. The background check company will have 30 days to investigate and correct the information. During this period, explain the situation to potential employers, landlords, or others affected by the inaccurate report.
  5. Monitor the Situation: Keep a close eye on your background report to ensure that the inaccuracies have been corrected. Continue to communicate with the reporting agency until the issue is resolved to your satisfaction.
  6. Hire an Attorney: If you have lost out on a job or an apartment due to errors in a background check, you may be entitled to damages. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), background check companies must be sure the information they report is accurate and up-to-date. You may be able to sue the company that used the background report against you and the company that provided the report. You can always get a free case evaluation from Francis, Mailman, Soumilas P.C. to see if you have a case.

Having a relative’s criminal history on your background report is challenging. Remember that you have rights regarding the accuracy of your background report, and there are steps you can take to correct any inaccuracies. Above all, maintain perspective and not let this temporary setback define your identity or future opportunities